10 Jul 2017 Bake Sweet
Pavlova has to be one of my all time favourite desserts. With its crisp outer shell and marshmallowy centre and not to mention when it is filled with luscious cream and juicy summer berries, for me it’s just irresistible! The meringue can be made the day before you need it but in this case, don’t fill it until just before serving. This is an ideal dessert for gatherings of family and friends throughout the summer.
Preheat the oven to 150C (Gas Mark 2) 130C fan. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and draw a 9 inch circle on it, using a plate or pan lid as a template. Turn the paper over and set the tray aside.
Whisk the egg whites in an electric mixer to give stiff peaks. Add the sugar, bit by bit, until all is incorporated. Whisk for a few minutes until the mixture is stiff and glossy. Add the cornflour, vinegar and vanilla extract and fold in gently with a metal spoon.
Spoon the mixture into the centre of the circle on the paper and use a palette knife to shape it into a nice round with wavy edges. Place in the oven and immediately reduce the temperature to 120C (Gas Mark 1/2) 100C fan. Bake for 1.5-2 hours until very pale brown and still a little soft in the centre. Turn the oven off and leave the pavlova inside with the door slightly ajar until it has completely cooled.
When ready to serve, whip the cream and vanilla seeds to give soft peaks. Carefully slide the meringue onto a serving plate or cake stand and spoon the cream into the centre. Decorate with the berries, halving or quartering the strawberries if large. Scatter with mint and serve.
Photo (c) Donal Skehan.
4 large egg whites, room temperature
225g caster sugar
2 tsp cornflour
1 tsp white wine vinegar
1 tsp vanilla extract
seeds from 1 vanilla pod
250g strawberries, hulled
handful fresh mint leaves